Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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This quinoa salad is excellent. Why? It’s easy to make and is delicious. My favorite combination when making a meal.

I cooked 1 cup of quinoa then added a few capers, oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, celery, kalamata olives, basil, feta, garlic, olive oil and some zested lemon.

As you can see, I served it atop some greens, baby kale. I loved this so much, I made it again with fusilli pasta as the grain.

Enjoy!!

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Cinnamon Honey Nut Granola

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I am a huge fan of granola. It has a great shelf life, it’s relatively healthy, it’s easy to make, and it’s great hot or cold!

I recently whipped up a batch of this granola and it is fantastic. Last year I made and gifted granola for the holidays and I will likely do the same this year, with this exact recipe.

Feel free to play around with the spices, nuts and fruits that are used here.

Cinnamon Honey Nut Granola

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3 Tbls brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c chopped almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 300F
  2. Mix dry ingredients – oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt. Set aside
  3. Mix wet ingredients – honey, oil, vanilla
  4. Add wet to dry. Mix in nuts
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for 10 more minutes or until granola is golden
  6. Let cool and mix in cranberries

Wilted Kale with Foraged Mushrooms

I have a bunch of Chicken of the Woods mushrooms to use up still….

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For tonight, I heated the mushrooms (which were previously sautéed in butter and frozen) in a skillet. I seasoned them with nutritional yeast, Bragg’s amigos and red pepper flakes. It is so simple, healthy, and delicious. You can mix the same ingredients together with more traditional shroomies such as portobellos.

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Pumpkin Chili with Corn Muffins

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This pumpkin chili turned out alright, but seemed to be missing something. Next time around, I’d like to add in chunks of butternut squash which would compliment the pumpkin nicely. I used this chili recipe as a guide for my own recipe below.

The corn muffins (not pictured) are amazing. I’ve struggled to find a corn muffin recipe that wasn’t too dry, chewy, and/or bland. This corn muffin recipe is moist and flavorful. And with corn muffins, you can go wild with add-ins such as roasted peppers, whole corn kernels, or cheese. I spiced mine up with some cayenne.

Pumpkin Chili

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 1 can of diced tomato
  • 2 cans of beans (I used black beans and kidney beans)
  • 3 Tbls chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp tamari
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 c pureed pumpkin
  1. Saute the onion, carrot, and pepper in oil until tender. Add the garlic and spices, let cook for a few more minutes
  2. Next, add the tomato, beans, broth and pumpkin. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes
  3. Taste and adjust spices/salt as desired

Corn Muffins

  • 1 c yellow cornmeal
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 Tbls baking powder
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c canned coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Add the dry ingredients, set aside
  3. Whisk together the wet ingredients, add wet ingredients to the dry
  4. Give the batter a few stirs, do not over mix
  5. You should have enough batter to make 12 muffins
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes

Wilted Kale Salad with Edamame, Kimchi and a Sriracha Peanut Butter Dressing

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I am blogging my first mobile post. An hour for lunch is too long. So, I went for a walk and landed a glorious spot overlooking the Mississippi River.

Dinner last night and lunch today was fantastic. This kale salad is light and refreshing. There is no feeling sluggish after this meal.

Per my usual, I did not measure my ingredients, but I will be making this very soon and will update with exact measurements. For now, here is my ingredient list:

  • kale
  • edamame
  • kimchi
  • coconut oil
  • peanut butter
  • Bragg’s aminos
  • sriracha
  • rice vinegar
  • agave
  • water
  1. Wilt the kale, steam the edamame
  2. Blend coconut oil through agave
  3. Toss everything together

Zesty Black Bean, Corn, and Pepper Dip with Citrus Sour Cream

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I whipped up this appetizer in about 30 minutes and it was pretty great. I sautéed 1/2 an onion with sweet red, yellow and orange peppers in a jalapeno infused olive oil. When the veggies were tender, I added half a bag of Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Corn. After the veggies were cooked, I tossed in the beans and put the dip mixture in the fridge to cool.

To make the citrus sour cream, I zested a lime and squeezed 1/2 of the lime into about a cup of sour cream.

When the bean, corn and pepper mix has cooled, I drizzled some cilantro balsamic into the mixture and added salt to taste. Scoop small amounts of dip into the chips. It’s easiest to use Scoops chips, but taste-wise they are crap (in my opinion). If I had more time, I would have cooked some wonton wrappers in mini cupcake/muffin tin and used those. Food for thought.

Top with a drizzle of citrus sour cream. Enjoy!

90 Days of Missed Meals

No, I’m not going to post everything I’ve eaten in 90 days, but seriously, where has the time gone? I’ll tell you. I was promoted and began working as a social worker in child protection. In addition to the job, I moved in with my partner; and was training for my first full marathon. Needless to say, dinners were quick and as healthy as I could make them.

Also, you will see one of my biggest deterrents in posting blogs: inadequate photos. Most of these photos are from my iPhone and are pretty shoddy.

To make simple meals, I often prepared things in large amounts. For example, I’d make 2 cups of rice, using some of it for a side or later as fried rice or as a rice salad. I would also cook large batches of veggies to have as snack or to use as fillers for other dishes.

I rely on canned beans…I love the idea of soaking and cooking beans, but I never seem to make the time to actually do this. I also use some pre-made foods such as fake meats (which I use sparingly) and fermented goodies like kimchi, curtido and sauerkraut. One of my favorite meals for lunch is kimchi with avocado.

Dinner: roasted broccoli with sautéed carrots, shallots, and edamame, served with a side of garlic quinoa and kimchi

 

Lunch at my favorite restaurant in St. Cloud, Viet-Tien; the Mock Duck Vermicelli bowl

Lunch at Wise Acre in Minneapolis, fresh greens straight from the garden!

Testing a new sriracha on some fried rice (edamame, carrot, onion, cabbage, rice and teriyaki sauce)

Gardein chick’n tenders with couscous and sautéed cabbage, yellow peppers and mushrooms

Banana pancakes with EarthBalance butter

Quinoa “rice bowl” with spinach, black beans, peppers and avocado

Homemade alfredo served over Target brand chick’n strips, steamed kale, mushrooms and fresh pasta

Trader Joe’s veggie tamale with Spanish rice, black beans and avocado

Killer Baked Beans

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Nothing beats a side of baked beans in the summertime. They are quite simply, “the bees knees.” I grew up on canned baked beans and they are a definite go-to comfort food. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve sought out healthier versions, straying away from readymade brands which are often loaded with sugar and preservatives; opting to bake my own.

It would have been a much more impressive dish, had I made the time and effort to soak my beans, but isn’t that always the case? Instead, I condensed the cook time by relying on canned beans…I know, I know. Still, this recipe blows any readymade version out of the water. And you can definitely play around with the sugar level to add/reduce sweetness. I found that the amount given was just perfect.

Ingredients
– 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
– 1 20 oz can white kidney beans (cannellini)
– 1 15 oz can red kidney beans
– 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
– 1 tsp dijon mustard
– 1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie’s)
– 2 Tbls liquid smoke
– 3 Tbls real maple syrup (can sub agave or honey, but maple syrup really should be used here)

1. Preheat oven to 325 F
2. Sauté onions in a little oil or water, cook until soft and caramelized
3. Drain and rinse beans, set aside. In a casserole dish, add tomato sauce, dijon, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and maple syrup. Whisk together. Add beans and caramelized onion
4. Bake covered for 15 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes

Vegan Almond Butter Snickerdoodles

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This recipe caught my eye a few weeks ago and I’ve been waiting for some spare time to test it out. I really enjoy the ease of this recipe. Just be aware that there is some time allotted for refrigeration. I missed that part and ended up freezing it for a shorter amount of time. I’m unsure if this did anything to the quality of the cookie. They are really nice in that they aren’t too sweet and the recipe makes the perfect amount. You can also mix things up by using alternative nut/seed butters. I only had raw almond butter on hand, so I used that. I’d imagine using a roasted/salted nut butter would give a much more noticeable flavor.

Enjoy!

Ingredients
– 3/4 c flour
– 1 Tbls corn starch
– 1/4 tsp baking powder
– 1/8 tsp salt
– 1/8 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 c sugar
– 2 tsp ground flax
– 2 Tbls almond milk
– 3 Tbls almond butter
– 1/2 tsp vanilla
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– 3 Tbls canola oil
– extra cinnamon and sugar for topping

1. Mix the dry
2. Mix flax/milk and set aside. Combine remaining wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the flax mix to this
3. Pour the wet into the dry and knead with your hands until the dough is well combined. Mine was a bit crumbly, but this seemed to be okay. Cover with plastic wrap and chill (freezer – 15 minutes; fridge – 1 hr)
4. Preheat oven to 375F
5. Roll into balls, flatten, dust with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Make about 10-12 cookies
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes

Raw Bruschetta Crackers

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Well, I did it, I made my first ‘raw’ cracker. It was quite the experience. I pulled out my dusty dehydrator and prayed to the raw gods that this trial didn’t blow up in my face…literally. See, I have this weird concern that my dehydrator will somehow go on the fritz while I’m sleeping and burn my house down. I know, cuckoo. Seriously though, who leaves an appliance on for 8 hours?!

Okay, so aside from my irrational cooking concerns, the raw gods were on my side. The crackers weren’t a total fail, but have room for improvement. I may have slightly overcooked them as they turned out a bit fragile and crumbly. However, the flavor and texture are spot on.

Here is how you go about making a raw cracker…

Ingredients

– 1 1/2 c raw almonds (soaked for at least 4 hours beforehand)
– 1/4 c ground flax + 3/8 c water
– 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
– 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
– 4 halves of sun-dried tomato, finely chopped
– salt if you want it

1. Drain almonds and pulse in a processor until you get a grainy consistency
2. Mix all ingredients together. Spread flat on a dehydrator sheet and heat at 145F for 45 minutes
3. Remove and cut into desired shapes. Return to dehydrator, change temp to 105F and heat for 4 hours. Depending on the desired firmness, let sit in the dehydrator longer if you’d like. I let mine sit overnight at the lowest setting, 95F. Not sure I would recommend that. Play around with this part!